The House of the Seven Corpses (1974)

PG | 90 mins | Horror | 1974

Director:

Paul Harrison

Cinematographer:

Don Jones

Production Designer:

Ron Garcia

Production Company:

Television Corporation of America
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HISTORY

       The House of Seven Corpses was the first project for newly formed Television Corp. of America (TCA), a Colorado-based production entity co-founded by writer-director-producer Paul Harrison, according to a 9 Oct 1972 Box news item. Principal photography was set to begin the week of 16 Oct 1972 in Salt Lake City, UT.
       An advertisement in the 21 Jan 1974 Box stated that the film grossed $9,807 in its first week at the Mayfair Theatre in Baltimore, MD, despite bad weather.

      Charles Macauley's character is referred to as "Christopher" in opening credits and "Chris" in the end credits. Actress Carole Wells is credited as Carole in the opening credits and Carol in the end credits. Actor Charles Bail's name appears twice in the cast list for the roles "Jonathon Anthony Beal" and "Theodore Beal." The following written statement appears in the end credits: “We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, for the use of its facilities in the production of this film.” ... More Less

       The House of Seven Corpses was the first project for newly formed Television Corp. of America (TCA), a Colorado-based production entity co-founded by writer-director-producer Paul Harrison, according to a 9 Oct 1972 Box news item. Principal photography was set to begin the week of 16 Oct 1972 in Salt Lake City, UT.
       An advertisement in the 21 Jan 1974 Box stated that the film grossed $9,807 in its first week at the Mayfair Theatre in Baltimore, MD, despite bad weather.

      Charles Macauley's character is referred to as "Christopher" in opening credits and "Chris" in the end credits. Actress Carole Wells is credited as Carole in the opening credits and Carol in the end credits. Actor Charles Bail's name appears twice in the cast list for the roles "Jonathon Anthony Beal" and "Theodore Beal." The following written statement appears in the end credits: “We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City, for the use of its facilities in the production of this film.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
9 Oct 1972.
---
Box Office
21 Jan 1974
p. 11.
Box Office
28 Jan 1974
p. 4659.
CineFantastique
Spring, 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 1972
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 1972
p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1974.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Gaffer
Key grip
Best boy
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SET DECORATOR
Props
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Choral mus
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd eff ed
Re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Laboratory
Scr supv
DETAILS
Release Date:
1974
Premiere Information:
Baltimore, MD, opening: January 1974
Los Angeles opening: 8 May 1974
Production Date:
mid October--early December 1972 in Salt Lake City, UT
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
90
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a mansion once inhabited by Maria Beal, filmmaker Eric Hartmann directs actress Gayle Dorian in a scene depicting Beal’s tragic demise. Edgar Price, the mansion’s caretaker, interrupts filming to tell Eric that his version of Mrs. Beal’s death is incorrect. Price, who has been caretaker of the mansion for many years, points to several portraits on the wall as he explains the history of the Beal family and their unusual deaths: Jonathan Anthony Beal, the first of his family to live and die in the house, fell over a top floor banister; Suzanne Beal drowned in her bath; Theodore Beal was shot in the back; Allison Beal died by hanging; Charles Beal was stabbed to death by his wife; and Russell Beal, the man who hired Price, was bludgeoned by a candlestick. As the actors and crew settle into their rooms, Gayle realizes there is no electricity in the mansion. Although they have generators to power the film equipment, the guests have to use candles after dark. Anne, another actress, finds some books about the occult in one of the rooms. Eric grabs one titled The Tibetan Book of the Dead and announces that he will use it in the film. At night, Anne looks out her bedroom window and sees the caretaker climb into a coffin in the Beal family graveyard. She tells her boyfriend, a crewmember named David, that she is scared to be there and worries that something terrible will happen. Meanwhile, Gayle answers a knock at her door but finds no one there. Cleon, Gayle’s cat, escapes, and Gayle is ... +


In a mansion once inhabited by Maria Beal, filmmaker Eric Hartmann directs actress Gayle Dorian in a scene depicting Beal’s tragic demise. Edgar Price, the mansion’s caretaker, interrupts filming to tell Eric that his version of Mrs. Beal’s death is incorrect. Price, who has been caretaker of the mansion for many years, points to several portraits on the wall as he explains the history of the Beal family and their unusual deaths: Jonathan Anthony Beal, the first of his family to live and die in the house, fell over a top floor banister; Suzanne Beal drowned in her bath; Theodore Beal was shot in the back; Allison Beal died by hanging; Charles Beal was stabbed to death by his wife; and Russell Beal, the man who hired Price, was bludgeoned by a candlestick. As the actors and crew settle into their rooms, Gayle realizes there is no electricity in the mansion. Although they have generators to power the film equipment, the guests have to use candles after dark. Anne, another actress, finds some books about the occult in one of the rooms. Eric grabs one titled The Tibetan Book of the Dead and announces that he will use it in the film. At night, Anne looks out her bedroom window and sees the caretaker climb into a coffin in the Beal family graveyard. She tells her boyfriend, a crewmember named David, that she is scared to be there and worries that something terrible will happen. Meanwhile, Gayle answers a knock at her door but finds no one there. Cleon, Gayle’s cat, escapes, and Gayle is unable to retrieve it. After a drunken co-star, Christopher, grabs Gayle and forces a kiss, she cries for help and Eric comes to her aid. Gayle begs Eric to tell her she is beautiful, and they kiss. Anne interrupts to say that she saw Price in the graveyard. Although Eric explains that he was filming Price there, the filmmaker did not see the caretaker climb into a grave. The next day, Gayle acts in a scene in the garden but shrieks when she sees her cat’s corpse in the grass. Eric finds a brick from a headstone nearby, and deduces that the caretaker used it to kill the animal. Eric goes to Price’s living quarters and finds a handgun in a locked drawer. He steals the gun, then finds Price and confronts him about the cat, however the caretaker insists he is innocent and says that there are eight graves on the property but only seven headstones. He says that Eric is in danger as long as the filmmaker stays. Ignoring the warning, Eric tells Price to stay away from his set. After Eric leaves, Price goes back to etching Cleon’s name on a tombstone. Learning that Gayle has quit, Eric finds the actress packing her suitcase. He grabs her and shouts that they must finish the film that night, adding that she is too old to be choosy about her acting roles. Later, Anne tries to stop David as he reads aloud from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Repeating a chant from the book, he summons the dead to rise and come to him; meanwhile, Price hears a rumbling coming from the graveyard. Having agreed to stay, Gayle also reads from The Tibetan Book of the Dead during a scene in which “Maria Beal” tries to revive her lover’s dead body. At the same time, a zombie emerges from the graveyard, grabs Price, and chokes him. When shooting is over, Eric congratulates his actors and sends them to bed. The zombie kills three crewmembers--Ron, Tom, and Danny--as they pack up equipment. Gayle spots the zombie from afar and grabs Price’s gun from Eric’s room. Mistaking Christopher for the zombie, she accidentally shoots her co-star to death. Soon after, Anne finds Gayle’s dead body hanging from a rope and faints. When Eric and David shoot additional footage in the graveyard, they hear Price gasp for help just before he dies. Spotting the empty grave beside Price’s body, David suddenly attacks Eric, trying to push him in. The men struggle, but David falls into the grave instead of Eric. Brushing aside some soil, Eric discovers that David fell into a tomb marked “David Beal.” Eric sees a zombie following him and runs away. On his way back into the house, Eric stumbles across dead crewmembers and actors, and becomes hysterical when he sees spools of destroyed film on the floor. From two floors above, the zombie drops a film camera onto Eric’s head, killing him, then carries Anne’s dead body to the graveyard. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.